The rising profile of a jinx breaking legislator
By Emma Akpabio
The incumbent Leader, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly and member representing Oruk Anam State Constituency – Rt. Hon. (Sir) Udo Kierian Akpan (UKA), is a five star legislator, a political enigma of sort that cannot be shoved aside in any political setting he finds himself. UKA came into political limelight, riding on the wings of his mentor, a one time Council Boss of Oruk Anam Local Government Area – Sir Vitalis Unang (of blessed memory).
Without doubts, the Ex- Labour leader is one of the most favoured in the political History of Akwa Ibom State and Oruk Anam in particular.
Born into the family of Kierian Akpan Unwa Ukwa in Ikot Esenam, this committed Methodist Knight has been in the corridor of power since age 32 and has been excellent in the discharge of his primary and assigned tasks for about 22years now.
From the position of the State Chairman, Nigeria Civil Service Union in 1997, Udo Kierian Akpan contested and won the exalted position of the Chairman, Nigeria Labour congress (NLC), where he led the Apex labour Union in the State for eight years between 1999 and 2007. His achievements and successes recorded within those years, earned him an appointment into the State Executive Council by Governor Godswill Obot Akpabio as an Honourable Special Adviser, labour and productivity to the State Government between 2007 and 2010.
His quest to liberate his people through effective representation made Udo Kierian Akpan to venture into the business of Law-making shortly after his tenure as a member of the State Executive Council. His good track records helped him to win the toughest PDP Oruk Anam State constituency primaries and general elections against Hon. Prince Ikim who appeared to be the Choice of the youths in 2011. After elections, Akpan who won the election with a wider margin, Was declared the winner and on proclamation of the 5th Assembly, he was elected the deputy Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.
Judging from the convention of political Power rotation and the size of Oruk Anam as the largest LGA in Akwa Ibom State, no one ever imagined nor conceived the idea of aspiring or supporting any Aspirant for a second term for an elective position, but Sir Akpan showed that his political teeth had become sharp enough, when in 2015, he broke the jinx and was reelected to represent his people for a second term. There on the floor of Assembly, he was unanimously elected and accepted as the leader of the 6th Assembly which spanned between 2015 and 2019.
Over the years, Sir Akpan has justified the quote that “where there is a will, there is a way”. In terms of political Strategy, he is unpredictable, the tactician towers above his peers. This he demonstrated recently, when he reaffirmed his membership with the PDP, against all speculations that as the international President of Ati Annang, that he will defect with Senator Godswill Akpabio to the All Progressive Congress APC in August
With his prodigious capacity to understand the psyche of the Electorates, read events, and even peep into the future, Akpan remains the first man from Oruk Anam, to pick the PDP ticket to return for a third term in the house of Assembly. Things that were previously seen in the Eastern and Northern Nigeria only.
Apart from being the Leader, Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly, Akpan earns a lot of respect for his capacity to peep into the political future and act appropriately. The Oruk Anam political juggernaut knows when to pull the trigger which makes him a force that cannot be ignored within and outside his constituency. Politically, the former labour leader towers above his peers in terms of political strategy. His role towards the victorious emergence of Mr Udom Emmanuel and Senator Godswill Akpabio as Akwa Ibom state Governor and Senator of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial district against all odds and forces in 2015 remains fresh on the memories of Akwa Ibom people.
Akpan, a strong pillar of the People’s Democratic Party is a political tactician who knows the difference between loyalty and slavery. This, he clearly demonstrated in August 2018 when he refused to defect with Senator Akpabio (his former Boss) to the All Progressive Congress. Despite the pressure from Senator Akpabio then, Akpan walked out on the former Senate Minority leader and stood his grounds as a courageous Annang man that can never betray his in-law (Gov Emmanuel). That singular act amongst others justified his reelection as the International President of Ati Annang foundation, an apex socio Cultural organization in Annang land that has been in existence for about 25years.
Apart from being the longest serving member representing Oruk Anam State Constituency, Akpan enjoys tremendous level of goodwill and respectability within the political class. Despite all the criticisms against his third term ambition, he was never distracted, Instead, he gathered all the stones thrown at him to build a fence around his aspiration. That focus, earned him the PDP standard flag bearer, and was presented with the party’s flag on January 16, 2019 at Uyo township Stadium. Though Oruk Anam is a PDP dominated area, Udo didn’t take anything for granted ahead of the elections, He visited the 13Wards of the LGA for for campaigns and even returned after the primaries to say “thank you”, a feat that has never been recorded in the history of Oruk Anam Politics. His victory at the general elections and subsequent confirmation of his mandate at the Election Petition tribunal was not a surprise to those who have been in touch with this political juggernaut.
In the legislative business, Udo Kierian is not found wanting. He currently holds the trophy of the best legislator in the history of Oruk Anam. He has performed exceedingly well with more than 10 bills to his credit. In the last 8years, His constituency projects spans from educational empowerment, Health Care delivery, Human Capital development/ empowerment and infrastructural development. Apart from attracting roads and other infrastructural development to an area that was once short of basic social amenities, Akpan is widely known for his three basic core values of touching lives, Raising Champions and inspiring hope.